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7 Natural Sleep Remedies to Help Conquer Insomnia [+ 1 Bonus!]

by Ann Ferguson

Sometimes, it seems like trying to get a good night's sleep is more and more impossible as each night comes by. There has to be something you can do to change things, right?

Yes, there are several things — natural remedies that you can try to help you sleep better! From teas to exercise to supplements, discover the sleep remedy that helps you say "good night!"

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We encourage you to consult your physician if you are experiencing chronic insomnia, are worried about any supplement interacting with your medications, or are experiencing severe symptoms.

1. Sleep Drinks

Woman drinking soothing tea in bed

You might have heard it before; if you're having trouble sleeping, try drinking a warm cup of milk before bed. But can it really help you sleep? The research is mixed, but overall, warm milk and other beverages have proven to help stimulate your sleep.

  • Warm Milk stimulates the effects of tryptophan, which affects your sleep-wake transition and helps you feel relaxed. To make warm milk work faster, add a touch of honey to transmit the tryptophan to your brain quickly.
  • Chamomile Tea has flavonoids (like apigenin) that interact with benzodiazepine receptors in the brain, which are involved with the sleep-wake transition. It helps you stay calm!
  • Tart Cherry Juice supports the production of melatonin, which stimulates a healthy sleep cycle.

2. Exercise

Maybe you've heard it before, but doing moderate physical activity can improve your sleep quality. It helps tire out your body and boosts the amount the nourishing slow-wave sleep you get. But since heavy exercise like aerobic exercises give you endorphins which keep you awake, timing your exercise is critical. You don't want to exercise too late in the day!

Instead, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day around four hours before bedtime, whether going for a walk around the block or hitting the gym. Yoga, in particular, positively affects sleep as it alleviates stress, improves physical function, and boosts your mental focus. And since it's low impact, you could do some yoga before bed, so long as you don't elevate your heart rate too much.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

Woman going through guided meditation

Another practice you can try to help your sleep is mindfulness meditation, which is an effective natural remedy for insomnia. Focusing on your breath and letting go of your thoughts can reduce stress and anxiety — two things that can keep you up at night.

Not only can it help your stress, but mindfulness meditation also improves your concentration, your overall sleep patterns, and it boosts your immunity. So, try to practice it for 15 minutes every day, either in the morning or in the event. But if it brings up too strong emotions, you'd be better off discontinuing the practice.

Pro Tip: You can find meditation apps or guides online to properly take you through a meditation routine!

4. Aromatherapy

Over 23 studies have concluded that using essential oils in aromatherapy before bed can help you relax and sleep better. Some good options include lavender oil, chamomile oil, and ylang-ylang oil. You can add a few drops of oil to your diffuser or put them on your pillow to enjoy the benefits all night long.

But keep in mind that aromatherapy massage is even more effective since the massage will help relax your body while the soothing scent helps relax your mind.

5. Herbs

A sleep mask next to array of herbal supplements

When it comes to natural sleep remedies, you can't go wrong with herbs, either in teas or supplements. Various herbs have proven to have a positive effect on sleep, including:

  • Valerian: brewed as a tea or taken as a supplement, it helps reduce anxiety, improves sleep quality, relieves muscle spasms, and works as a mild sedative by affecting the calming chemical in the brain.
  • Lemon Balm: relieves anxiety, calms nerves, and is sometimes included with valerian in supplements or teas.
  • Lavender: improves mood, reduces pain, promotes sleep, and specifically helps the sleep patterns in people who suffer from depression (when taking an anti-depressant). However, it can also cause headaches, constipation, or nausea so pay attention to your body the first time you use it to make sure it’s the right remedy for you.

6. Magnesium

One remedy you can try is magnesium, a natural mineral that has been shown to improve sleep quality. Magnesium is proven to help with bodily repair, improve nerve function, help your muscles relax, relieve stress, and encourage healthy sleep patterns, which all contribute to good quality sleep.

You can take magnesium supplements or get them from foods like dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and spinach. You can even add a cup of magnesium flakes to your bath to absorb it through your skin. Keep in mind that magnesium does have some side effects, including stomach and intestinal issues so listen to your body if you notice any symptoms.

7. Melatonin

Another naturally occurring remedy is melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin releases in the brain four hours before we start to feel sleepy — your brain starts producing it when the light is low!

But sometimes, there are obstacles to your melatonin production, so taking melatonin as a supplement or in a tea blend might be helpful. It'll help you fall asleep more quickly, improve the quality of your sleep, and reduce the number of nighttime disturbances.

BONUS: Light Therapy

Woman soaking up sun

A bonus natural sleep remedy is light therapy, also known as phototherapy. It involves exposing yourself to artificial or natural light for a short period each day. This can help reset your body's natural sleep-wake cycle (or circadian rhythm) and improve your sleep quality by gradually shifting your sleep patterns.

You can use a lightbox or take a walk outside around noon daily to help retune your circadian rhythm. But if you wake up too early in the morning or fall asleep early in the evening, you might need more light in the late afternoon. So be sure to take a walk while it's still sunny.

Good Night!

There are many different natural remedies that can help you sleep better, but it might take a while until you find the one that best suits your sleep! And if all else fails, there's always the age-old remedy of counting sheep...or you can outfit yourself with the best mattress and pillow options you can find at Crane's Mattress!

Have any questions? Don't be afraid to give us a call! Our team is dedicated to helping you find the best sleep solution, so you can always have sweet dreams!